Derbyshre v Leicestershire at Derby Aprl 19-22 County Championship Div 2

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 1

DERBYSHIRE’S 2024 Vitality County Championship home campaign finally got underway at the  Incora county ground after their opening match against Gloucestershire a fortnight ago  was completely washed out but it wasn’t long before rain interfered again.

Rain stopped play at 12.10 and play didn’t resume until 5.30 with 18.3 overs left in the day and in the first full over Leicestershire lost Louis Kimber who edged Sam Conners without moving his feet and Aneurin  Donald at third slip took a tumbling catch.

Derbyshire’s new captain David Lloyd won the toss and put Leicestershire into bat and they should have had both Leicestershire openers back in the hutch before they had reached double figures.

On one, Aussie Marcus  Harris flashed at Blair Tickner but Wayne Madsen at second slip couldn’t hold on to the chance and the ball ran to the boundary. His partner Rishi Patel had a life on nine when he edged a drive off Conners and the ball went straight into Donald’s hands at third slip but he couldn’t hold on to it.

Harris made Derbyshire pay for that drop  by hitting his second Vitality Championship fifty of the season.  He reached his  fifty of the season from  103 balls when he got an inside edge to Tickner for a single.

Patel went down the pitch to Anuj Dal and brutally clubbed him  to the mid wicket boundary and then powered Pat  Brown, making  his Derbyshire Vitality Championship debut, to  the cover boundary.

The Derbyshire slip cordon dropped  Harris again on 26.  This time  Anuj Dal was the bowler  but the fielder again was Madsen who dropped the chance at his shoelaces.  Eventually Derbyshire did take a wicket when 30  year old Kiwi, Blair Tickner,  sent Patel’s off stump out of the ground for his first wicket at.

On a day when 50 overs were lost Harris and Captain Lewis Hill added 74  for the third wicket taking Leicestershire to 168 for two at the close.

Day 2

MARCUS Harris hit 214 his best score for Leicestershire beating the 185 he made against Middlesex at Leicester in his first spell with the club in  2021 as Leicestershire scored 574 for seven declared.

It was the first double century for Leicestershire since 2022 when CN Ackermann hit 277 against Sussex at Hove and the highest score made by a Leicestershire player at Derby, beating the 188 made by Mark Cosgrove in 2017.

He said: “It’s been a long time since I scored a century, I think it was in November.  Today I worked day way back into my innings and I played with a lot of freedom at the end. I was thinking about getting the fifth batting point so there were a few cowboy shots at the end. It was good to spend some in the middle and put us in a good position. We were fortunate to take four wickets at the end to put us in a good position for tomorrow.”

Harris made Derbyshire pay for dropping him twice yesterday and they were at it  again today. This time the culprit was Derbyshire captain David Lloyd when Harris  toe ended a drive off Blair Tickner.  Lloyd went for the catch at first slip low down to his left but couldn’t cling on to the chance 

The Aussie added: “Sometimes you have misfortune and other times you have good fortune. it makes up for when you get a stinker.”

He  brought up his 200, which came from 189 balls with 26 fours, when he drove Alex Thomson for a single.  A beautiful off drive by Harris to long off boundary for the shot of the day took him into the 180’s.  He chipped Anuj Dal for a couple over mid wicket to take him past the 185 and clubbed the next ball to the mid wicket boundary.  In the next over he lofted Pat Brown to the long off boundary.  

After reaching 200 Harris went to town and smacked Derbyshire to all parts of the ground as he added 81 in 14 overs with Leon Travaskis. The partnership was broken when Harris tried to clip Brown off his but played over the ball and was bowled.  Harris became the first Leicestershire player to hit a century this season when he drilled Anuj Dal to the long on boundary. 

The partnership that saw Leicestershire take charge was the fourth wicket partnership between Harris and fellow Victorian Peter Handscomb.  The pair added 153 in 35 overs thanks mainly to the introduction of spinner Thomson into the attack in the 62nd over to the ironic cheers of the Derbyshire fans. Thomson’s first five  overs cost him 35 as Harris and Handscomb added 100 from 121 balls.

Harris said: “We’ve spent a lot of time batting together at Victoria and I like batting with Handscomb because he is so relaxed.”

Handscomb got off the mark by clipping a yorker from Tickner off his feet to the fine leg boundary.  He uppercut Sam Conners to the third man boundary. The Victorian  brought his fifty up, which included eight fours,   when he cut Thomson to the third man boundary for one of his seven fours in his fifty.  After lunch Handscomb pulled Conners over the square leg boundary for a six.  Their partnership was broken when Handscomb played around a straight ball from Tickner and was plumb leg before.

After dropping two catches yesterday Madsen finally caught one at slip when Conners  squared Lewis  Hill up who edged it and Madsen took a comfortable catch at third slip. It was reward for Conners who had been hit for two fours by  Hill. First Hill uppercut the second ball of the day over the slips to the third man boundary and in Conners’ next over he cut him to the point boundary.  Conners thought he had Hill when a short ball took the shoulder of his but fortunately for Hill fell between Aneurin Donald at third slip and Anuj  Dal at point. 

Travaskas and Ben Cox added a quick fire 67 in 18 overs to completely grind Derbyshire but those who live by the sword should perish by the sword and that’s what to Travaskas as he pulled Luis Reece to Harry  Came on the mid wicket boundary.

Cox after reaching his fifty, slogged the next ball from Reece and stumper Guest couldn’t hold on to the chance. Cox tried to slog/sweep Thomson out of the ground but found Brown coming in from the mid wicket boundary.  After Cox’ departure Mike and Green 49 in five overs before the declaration.

Derbyshire lost four wickets before the close.  First to go was  Harry Came was leg before to the second ball.  Five overs later Reece meekly clipped Ben Mike off his legs to Travaskas at mid wicket.  Mike was on an hattrick when he hit Madsen on his boot knocking him over, through it looked to be going down legside. Brook Guest played down the wrong line to Scott Currie and was leg before.

Day 3

LEICESTERSHIRE need another four wicket’s tomorrow for a big innings victory in the East Midlands derby with Derbyshire who are 183 runs behind.

It took Leicestershire 28 overs on the third morning to take the remaining six Derbyshire first innings wickets and enforce  the follow on 11 minutes  before lunch. 
Derbyshire’s captain David Lloyd top scored with 54. He pulled Ben  Mike over the mid wicket boundary for a six in the second over of the day and  brought his fifty up when he drove Mike to the cover boundary. As soon as  Lloyd  reached his fifty he became bogged down and misjudged a ball from Mike and lost his off stump.

Aneurin Donald and Anuj Dal showed some fight adding 67 for seventh wicket in18 overs.  Their  partnership  included the second one short run by Derbyshire, earlier Lloyd and Sam Conners managed not to complete a run.  Not the thing to do when you’re 215 from saving the follow on.  The partnership was broken when Donald went down the pitch to off spinner Liam Travaskas’ second ball.  He had a big swing, missed the ball and lost his off stump.

Night watchman Conners fell  to the 15th ball of the day when he played around one from Tom  Scriven and was leg before after adding four to his overnight score.

Alex Thomson drove Scriven beautifully straight to the boundary and in the next over he dropped kick  Trevaskis over the long on boundary for a six.  But that  was that from Thomson in the next over he steered Scriven  to Scott  Currie at third slip who took a juggling catch. Kiwi Blair Tickner tried to place Currie through the covers but didn’t reckon with Travaskas who leapt to his left to take the catch.

Anuj  Dal was the last man out when he  pulled Currie to Rishi Patel at mid wicket. For Leicestershire Scriven, Mike and Currie each took three wickets.

Currie said: “It was a good effort, there wasn’t that much assistance but we were in for the long haul.  We’ll rock up tomorrow and hope we can get those last wickets. At the moment I am at the beginning of a red ball journey so I am still learning.  I am not expecting to play every game for Leicestershire but I will play more than I did if I had stayed at Hampshire.”

Following on 407 behind , the 10th time that Derbyshire have trailed by 400,  Derbyshire opener  Harry Came turned Scriven off his legs into Lewis Hill at short leg but Hill couldn’t take the catch as the ball rebounded off his chest. After that Came and Luis Reece  rarely looked  in trouble until Currie was brought into the attack and he struck with the last ball of his first over when he trapped Came on the crease and was leg before.

Reece hit Mike for three fours in an over: the first through the covers, clipped the off his legs and hooked the next ball to the fine leg boundary.  In the next over he offered no shot to Currie and was plumb leg before.

Currie got his third wicket when he bowled Lloyd who was deceived by a slower ball.  It looked to be a full toss when it dipped in and knocked his off stump out of the ground. He had taken three wickets for nine in four overs.  Currie said : “It was a knuckle ball,  it’s something I’ve been working on for a few years and it’s nice when it comes off.”

Brooke Guest pushed at Travaskas and was leg before. Donald tried to pull a short ball from Scriven but it didn’t rise as much as Donald and was bowled. Anuj Dal glanced   Mike down the legside to give stumper Cox an easy catch.

 With 36  overs left in the day it looked the match would finish today but  Wayne Madsen  and Thomson defied the Leicestershire bowlers adding for the seventh wicket.  At the close Madsen was unbeaten on 59  and Thomson was not on 46.

Lloyd said: “In the last two hours the boys showed some fight.  It was important  that we batted the day out and showed a bit of character but we had a poor 18 overs in the last hour on the first day when you drop someone of the calibre of Marcus Harris he’s going to make you pay.”

Day 4

THE match was abandoned as a draw  after the teams had taken an early lunch at 12.30 because no play was possible due to heavy overnight and morning  rain.

Leicestershire Head coach Alfonso Thomas defended the timing  of his sides declaration  on the second day saying : “There's going to be a feeling that we should have pulled out earlier but I thought we got it right, the guys gave it a good go after tea yesterday, they batted well to be fair to them, they're allowed to bat well, but I'm extremely proud of the effort that our lads have put in over the last four days.”

Thomas was also proud   of the way a team missing several frontline bowlers performed. He said: "I have to doff my cap to the lads. We've asked a lot of them in the last four days and they've delivered and more. We've tried to counter the weather as much as we could.”

Derbyshire Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur said: “The  partnership between Wayne Madsen and Alex Thomson was a really good partnership under pressure, we’d looked at the forecasts and knew we needed to get into today to get the draw, they  were very composed, very clinical and did a really good job for us.”

On the dropped catches on the first day Arthur also said: “They definitely set the tone for the game, at 10 for 2 we would have been looking at a totally different scenario. I thought we bowled well with the new ball, we asked enough questions to put them under pressure and we created the opportunities but didn’t latch onto those opportunities.  That is the very disappointing aspect of it.

The effort was  outstanding, the commitment to the cause has been outstanding and the determination they’ve showed to get better everyday has been brilliant. What I did find disappointing was the way we caught because we put a lot of time and work into that and our bowling with the older ball is something we need to work on. The other thing is we haven’t had a hundred yet.”


April 20, 2024 11:15 am

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